Friday Nasiha: Why Do We Need Anger?

Friday Nasiha - Weekly Reminders for Successful Life
This week's Friday Nasiha gives advice on how to earn God's support, the ingredients of being successful, and how anger can be a positive emotion.

{Find more Friday Nasiha under the Islam menu tab}

Living the Quran
God's Help
Al Baqara, The Cow (Qur'an, 2:214)


'Do you reckon that you will enter Paradise while you have not endured an experience similar to that endured by other communities who came before you? Affliction and adversity befell them and so terribly shaken where they that the Messenger and those who believed with him would exclaim, "When will God's help come?" Surely, God's help is close at hand.'
(Qur'an, 2:214)

This verse points to way marks in the history of those following the Straight Path. This path is no easy route. It passes through privations, persecutions, and even sufferings of war to the point where the believers all but cry out, "When will God's help come?" This point when the followers of the Straight Path are convinced that it is only God who gives success, is also the point when God's help is at hand, and which leads on to the final triumph or prosperity in both worlds.

God's support (nasr) is reserved for those who earn it: those who persevere and stand firm to the end in the face of all adversity and misfortune, never wavering but always certain that God's help is on its way. No matter how severe the ordeal may become, true believers will always look to God, and to God alone, for salvation and support.

The dynamic of social and religious struggle reinforces the human spirit and encourages man to rise above his own ego and so emerge purer and stronger, ready to uphold the faith with greater energy and vigour. Thus, believers become a shining role model even for their most ardent adversaries, some of whom are liable to be impressed and join ranks with the believers, as witnessed throughout human history.

But even if this were not the case, something else much greater and much more admirable happens: advocates of God's order are liberated from subordination to any worldly power or temptation. Life and its comforts become of no real consequence, and man assumes control of his world, which can only mean a triumph for humanity and the human spirit as a whole.

The ingredients of success are faith, hard work, sacrifice, and perseverance. With those, victory is guaranteed and the road to greater, everlasting rewards, to eternal bliss, is direct and clear.

Compiled From:
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Syed Qutb, Vol. 1, pp. 250, 251
"The Quran: Annotated Interpretation in Modern English" - Ali Unal, p. 95


Understanding the Prophet's Life
Reprieve

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) said,
"Surely God grants wrongdoers, the oppressor, a reprieve. But once He seizes him, He utterly destroys him." (Bukhari, Muslim)

God gives the wrongdoers some time to repent and amend their behaviour. If they do not take advantage of this opportunity, He punishes them severely.

God sometimes uses wrongdoers to punish the sinful. This happens when God wills to punish them before the Day of Judgment. For example, after the Muslims split into many competing factions nine centuries ago and deviated from Islam, they were exposed to the Mongol invasion and massacre.

Compiled From:
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, p. 117


Blindspot!
Why We Need Anger

Although anger clearly has some connection with hostility and aggression, they are not the same. Hostility is an attitude of ill will, aggression refers to behaviour that is always meant to hurt, whereas anger is an emotion - plain and simple. Anger is neither a positive or negative emotion; it is the way we handle our anger - what we do with it - that makes it negative or positive. For example, when we use our anger to motivate us to make life changes or to make changes to dysfunctional systems, anger becomes a very positive emotion.

When we express anger through aggressive or passive-aggressive ways (such as getting even or gossiping), it becomes a negative emotion. So why do we need anger at all? Why not simply work toward eliminating it from our lives entirely? The reason is that there are many positive functions of anger:
  • It energizes and motivates us to make changes in our lives.
  • It serves as a catalyst for resolving interpersonal conflict.
  • It promotes self-esteem - when we stand up for ourselves, we feel better about ourselves.
  • It fosters a sense of personal control during times of peak stress.
  • Expression of anger can actually promote health. Women with cancer who express their anger are found to live longer than those who express no anger.
  • As uncomfortable as anger is for many of us, it can be preferable to anxiety, as it lays the blame outside ourselves.
  • If we find constructive ways of releasing anger and safe places to let it out, it can become a positive force in our lives, creating energy, motivation, assertiveness, empowerment, and creativity.

Compiled From:
"The Nice Girl Syndrome" - Beverly Engel, pp. 165-167

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